Tuesday, August 31, 2010


On this day, we'd like to remind you about two newsletters from the Heritage Room that you can have delivered to your email Inbox.

Genealogy Events newsletter comes out near the end of each month. It includes events in the Athens area and all around Georgia related to historical research, events, people, and places; history- or genealogy-related exhibits and displays; as well as meeting information for area history and genealogy groups.
It's a great way to stay on top of what is happening.

We will also have a
Genealogy Tips newsletter that will be sent every few weeks with news of new resources, programs, or developments in the wider genealogy world. That world is growing larger every day!

Simply follow the links above (or
click here) to see the current newsletters and sign up today!

Friday, August 27, 2010

27 August 1889: "Athens A Health Resort."

A Wonderful Health Record of Our City during the Present Summer.

Athens is the most healthful city in Georgia.

That's what the resident physicians say, and the statement is verified by the health record of the pass year. [sic]

One physician tells us that he has never, during his twenty years of practice in Athens, seen such a healthful year as this has been, and has never heard of its equal in any city the size of Athens.

Another physician syays he has known of but three cases of fever in Athens during the past year and they were induced by natural causes rather than by any defect in the city's sanitary condition.

The fact is, that no city in the South has a better climate, a better natural dranage [sic], a more healthful environment every way [sic] than has Athens and there is no reason in the world why it should not be a wholesome city.

We congratulate the city on its thorough sanitary inspection and watchfulness, and rejoice in the splendid advantages of health with which nature has blessed out [sic] city.
Southern Watchman, 27 August 1889, p. 1.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

24 August 1827: Professor of Penmenship Promotes Employment

On this day in 1827, the Athenian published the following advertisement:

Professor of Penmanship,
Respectfully informs the inhabitants of Athens, that he intends opening a School for the purpose of instructing young Ladies and Gentlemen in the plain and ornamental branches of Penmanship. Mr. T. flatters himself from the liberal encouragement he has received in Savannah and Augusta, that the citizens of Athens, when acquainted with his system and method of instruction, will not be unwilling to patronize him. Mr. T will teach the Round, Running, Secretary, and Italian Hands--also, German Text, Old English, and Roman Print; likewise, Pen-making.
The cost for the 15 penmanship lessons was $5.00, approximately $111.00 by today's rates. For an extra 50 cents, "Mr. T" would also provide stationery for his students. Classes were held at the Female Academy (which "despite its name, instruction ... was not limited to girls"). The penmanship classes were divided by gender: ladies would be taught from 8am to 9:30am, and gentlemen from 5pm to 6:30pm. As proof of his expertise, "Specimens of writing may be seen at the Post-Office."

Though it is unclear how long "Mr. T" stayed in Athens, all references to J. or Joshua Tucker in the newspaper abstract books end by the fall of 1828, and he did not appear to pay any taxes in Clarke County during his time here. By 1833, writing was part of the standard curriculum at the Female Academy, at a far lower rate than charged as an extra course in 1827.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

21 August 2002: Student Newspaper Notes Establishment of Patterson Copyright Award

On this day in 2002, the independent student newspaper at the University of Georgia, the Red & Black, published news of the new American Library Association Award named for University of Georgia law professor, L. Ray Patterson. Patterson was the Pope Brock Professor of Law at UGA, and a Special Assistant Attorney General of Georgia for Copyright Law. The initial award was presented by law professor Lawrence Lessig to Professor Patterson during the 2002 ALA national convention in Atlanta.

The Patterson Copyright Award in Support of User's Rights is not an annual award, but one given as merited to "an individual or group that pursues and supports the Constitutional purpose of the U. S. Copyright Law, fair use and the public domain." Patterson considered copyright law to be "a law of user's rights," that fair use of copyrighted information is a right rather than "an excused infringement." There have been six winners since the award was established. The 2010 winner is Fred von Lohmann, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Patterson was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1929, and attended Mercer University for his undergraduate degree. He earned a Master's degree in English from Northwestern University, then taught at Middle Georgia College before joining the Army during the Korean War, where he worked as a Russian translator.

After the war, Patterson earned a law degree from Mercer University, and taught law there while earning his S.J.D. (Doctorate of Judicial Science) from Harvard University. He then spent the 1960s teaching law at Vanderbilt University and acting as an assistant U. S. Attorney. In 1968, he published Copyright in Historical Perspective, a text that remains in print today.

In 1973, Patterson become dean of the Emory School of Law in Atlanta, stepping down from that position in 1980. In 1987, he accepted the position of Pope Brock Chair at University of Georgia Law School. Patterson published The Nature of Copyright: A Law of User's Rights with co-author Stanley Lindberg, editor of the Georgia Review, in 1991. Though he wrote or co-authored over 20 books in his career, these two books were among the most admired for their approach to copyright law.

Patterson taught at UGA until his death from lung cancer in November, 2003. He was 74 years old.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

19 August 1916: Polio Epidemic Affects Travel Rules For Children

On this day in 1916, the following announcement was published on page 4 of the Athens Banner:

South Carolina And Infantile Paralysis

The following has been issued by the Seaboard Air Line Railway, concerning the South Carolina quarantine against infantile paralysis:

South Carolina. --"Railroad ticket [sic] will not be sold to children under sixteen (16) years of age unless a certificate is furnished by local Board of Health, where one exists, and where no local Board of Health exists, by family physician residing in the locality showing that child has not been in contact with case of Infantile Paralysis and has not had the disease this year."
The summer of 1916 saw the first epidemic of polio (poliomyelitis virus) in the United States. It began in New York City, where by the end of the year, they would have over 9,000 cases and 2,448 deaths. The epidemic was most prevalent along the east coast, and nationwide there were at least 27,000 cases and 6,000 deaths.

Little was known about the virus at the time. It had only been identified as a virus eight years earlier, and it was unclear how it spread, though it was prevalent in the summer. Despite the name "infantile paralysis," teens and adults could also catch the disease; Franklin Delano Roosevelt was 39 when he was stricken in August, 1921. In the early 1950s, 35% of those who contracted polio were adults.

The symptoms for polio mimicked a common flu: fever, aches, sore throat, stiffness, nausea, and fatigue, so the virus was not always immediately recognized as a more serious condition. Most of those who contracted the disease were not aware and had few, if any symptoms, and only 1% experienced permanent paralysis.

Even as late as the 1940s, the primary form of control for the disease was quarantine. When muscles affecting breathing were paralyzed, patients could be placed in a tank respirator (also known as an "iron lung"), but only a few hundred hospitals in the entire nation even accepted polio patients.

In 1934, Roosevelt and his law partner, Basil O'Connor, started "the Birthday Balls," celebrations on Roosevelt's birthday held all around the nation as a fundraiser to fight polio. The initial ball raised $1 million in donations. In 1937, Roosevelt established the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (later the March of Dimes), to help fund researchers looking for cures and vaccines. Among those they funded was Jonas Salk, in 1949.

The first polio vaccine was approved for use on April 12, 1955, the anniversary of Roosevelt's death. It was a an Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) delivered by injection. An Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) that used a live virus was developed by Albert Sabin in the late 1950s replaced the Salk vaccine in the United States until 2000, when the IPV became the recommended procedure again. In other parts of the world where the virus is still endemic, the OPV is still distributed because it provides intestinal immunity.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

16 August 1907: Altioria Society Announces Year of Programs

On this day in 1907, one of two literary societies of the State Normal School, the Altioria Society, published their year of programs in the Athens Banner:

September 7.
Introductory talk on the English novel, by Miss Harrison.
Music by Altioria Orchestra and Chorus.
Altioria welcomes to new members.

September 21.
Subject: David Copperfield (Dickens).
Scenes from David Copperfield.
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

October 5.
Subject: Tale of Two Cities (Dickens).
Story by Miss Parrish.
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

October 19.
Subject: Pickwick Papers (Dickens).
The humor of Pickwick, by Mr. Earnest.
Dramatization of Pickwick Papers.
Music by Altioria Chorus and Orchestra.

November 2.
Subject: Dickens Evening.
Life and character of Charles Dickens.
Dickens's [sic] place in literature.
Dickens as an educational reformer, by Mr. Smith.
A Dickens procession.
Debate: Resolved, That Dickens is a cartcacturist [sic] rather than a great potrayer [sic] of character.
Music by Altioria Chorus.

November 16.
Subject: "The Talisman" [sic] (Scott).
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

December 7.
Subject: Ivanhoe (Scott).
Scenes from Ivanhoe.
Discussion of Richard Coeur de Lion.
Music by Altioria Chorus.

December 21.
Subject: Kenilworth (Scott).
Music by Altioria Orchesta.

January 4.
Subject: Lady of the Lake (Scott).
"Lady of the Lake" country, by Mr. Branson; illustrated by stereopticon views.
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

January 18.
Subject: Scott Evening.
Character sketch of Sir Walter Scott.
A Scottish social.
Debate: Resolved, That Scott's day is past.

February 1.
Subject: Mill on the Floss (Eliot).
Scene from Mill on the Floss.
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

February 15.
Subject: Romola (Eliot).
Story by Miss Parrish.
Music by ALtioria Orchestra.

March 7.
Subject: Silas Marner (Eliot).
Scenes from Silas Marner.
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

March 21.
Subject: Eliot Evening.
Eliot's life and literary standing.
Debate: Resolved, That George Eliot's ethics interfere with her stories.

April 4.
Subject: The Newcomes (Thackeray).
Story, told in parts.
Music by Altoria Orchestra.

April 18.
Subject: Vanity Fair (Thackeray).
Scenes from Vanity Fair.
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

May 2.
Subject: Henry Esmond (Thackeray).
Scenes from Henry Esmond.
Music by Altioria Chorus.

May 16.
Subject: Thackeray Evening.
Discussion of Thackeray's life and works.
Debat:[sic] Resolved, That Thakeray was a cynic.
Music by Altioria Orchestra.

The Alitoria Literary Society was started in 1906. They chose an owl as their symbol and "Excelsior" as their motto. Their club colors were blue and black. Part of each meeting included time for informal socializing over refreshments.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Discover Genealogy on the Internet!

On this day, we'd like to let you know there are still spaces available for our Genealogy on the Internet class, Thursday, August 19th, from 6pm to 8:45pm, in the library's Educational Technology Center upstairs.

The class is an introduction to the many and growing resources for researching your family history online, and includes handouts that provide descriptions of the various sites available and their offerings. Time to explore on your own and ask questions is provided in the last part of the session. These resources are not limited to Georgia, or even to the United States. This class is not intended for beginners in computers or genealogy.

The class is free, but space is limited, so registration is required. Call us at (706) 613-3650, ext. 350, or email us at heritageroom@arlsmail.org to reserve your space. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10 August 2002: Ecology Pioneer Eugene Pleasants Odum Dies

On this day in 2002, Eugene P. Odum died in his Athens home, one month shy of his 89th birthday. It was believed he had a heart attack after working in his garden. Dr. Odum's research fundamentally changed the way the world understood the environment, asserting that "the ecosystem is greater than the sum of its parts."

Dr. Odum grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and was an avid ornithologist. After receiving his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Illinois, he spent a year as the naturalist at the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville, New York. In 1940, he came to the University of Georgia in Athens to teach zoology, though during WWII he taught "science to nurses, pharmacy-mates and pre-medical personnel."

When he started his career, Dr. Odum's holistic approach to ecology, that all life on the planet are an interdependent system, was considered unconventional. Since no textbook offered this perspective, he and his brother, Howard T. Odum, published Fundamentals of Ecology in 1953. The book revolutionized the way scientists and average citizens understood life on the planet, and for a decade was the only textbook that took a "top-down" approach to the environment. It was translated into 13 languages, and is currently in its fifth edition. The text made "ecosystem" a household word.

Over the years, Dr. Odum helped to create and establish the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (1951), the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island (1954), and the Institute of Ecology at UGA (1961), where he served as its first director until his retirement in 1984. During that time, Dr. Odum was the first UGA faculty member elected to the National Academy of Sciences (1970), helped pass Georgia's Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (1970), won the John and Alice Tyler Ecology Award (1977), and shared with his brother the Prix de l'Institut de la Vie (1977) and the Crafoord Prize (1987), considered to be the Nobel Prize for ecology science.

Dr. Odum was preceded in death by his wife Martha in 1995 and his son William, also an ecologist, in 1991. In his will, he left the profits from the sale of his 26 acres of property to the Eugene and William Odum Ecology Fund to support graduate student research at the Institute of Ecology at UGA, with $1 million set aside for an endowed Eugene P. Odum Chair of Ecology professorship. The will stipulated that 57% of the land must remain undeveloped, and would be overseen by the Oconee River Land Trust. There is now a small, 16-house development on the property, with 15 acres of walking trails through protected green space along the Oconee River near Five Points.

In 2007, UGA renamed the Institute of Ecology the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 August 1900: "Large Crowds Leave Athens."

Two Big Excursions Were Run From This Place Yesterday.

Notwithstanding the fact that dozens of Athenians are already out of the city sojourning at various summer resorts about the country, two large excursions were run yesterday, leaving a big hole in the city's population.

Large crowds went over to Tallulah Falls for the day. A low rate had been put on by the Southern and many citizens took advantage of the opportunity for a sight of the beauties of the Falls. This excursion was composed almost entirely of whites, dozens of ladies and prominent people going. All enjoyed the trip very much.

The other excursion was made over the Georgia to Atlanta. It was made up principally of negroes, the star attraction being a ball game between the Athens "Reds" and the Atlanta "Deppens." A large crowd went over.
Athens Banner, 7 August 1900, p. 6, col 4.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

3 August 1864: Union Prisoners Held in Athens

On this day in 1864, at approximately 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Colonel William Campbell Preston Breckinridge's Kentucky Cavalry escorted into Athens over 200 Union prisoners. The men were members of Colonel Horace Capron's brigade, captured during an early morning raid after a day of fighting at Barber Creek. The prisoners were held on the University of Georgia campus for several days while other Union soldiers, scattered during the fighting, were caught and processed as prisoners of war. A total of 431 men were temporarily interned at UGA.

The Southern Watchman described the men thusly:
The prisoners presented a sorry spectacle. Ragged, some of them bare headed, some bare-footed, and all very dirty, we have never seen an equal number of men looking so badly. The great mass of them appeared to be the "rag, tag and bobtail" of the communities from whence they came. We recognized "the Irish brogue and sweet German accent" among them. It is true that, now and then, a respectable looking man was to be seen among the officers and men. The great mass of them, however, looked like "hard cases."

The University was not in session, and some buildings on campus had been put to use as hospitals. Phi Kappa Hall was used as a quartermaster depot and New College as shelter for refugees driven from their homes around the south. Prisoners of war were kept outdoors in open, fenced areas. The day after the prisoners arrived, the citizens of Athens gave an afternoon banquet for the cavalrymen, complete with a musician-led parade through town to lead the Breckinridge brigade to the banquet site in the campus Chapel.

The arrival of the prisoners in Athens was, according to the account in the Southern Watchman, "great excitement, as this was the first squad of Yankees who had visited us since the beginning of the war." Many of the local residents ventured to campus to see and talk to the prisoners; one man cursed a prisoner roundly, ending his verbal attack with a firm kick. An young observer noted that, "Boy as I was I boiled over with indignation and I felt like apologizing to the prisoner for the whole State of Georgia; and I never saw that man afterwards--and he lived twenty years after the war--that I did not say to myself 'there goes a coward.'"

The Union prisoners spent their time in Athens under the guard of an Athens home defense unit known as the Mitchell Thunderbolts. The Thunderbolts consisted of mostly well-established, well-educated professional men who were too old for the Confederate draft. Confederate law had recently allowed such local "minute-man" style companies to be formed whose only role would be to defend their home towns if attacked, and could not be co-opted by the Confederate Department of War. They were allowed to make their own rules and elect their own officers, and were not under orders of any higher military authority.

The Mitchell Thunderbolts, named for Private William L. Mitchell, were widely known as more independent than most home guards, much to the consternation of General Howell Cobb, who was Georgia's commander of reserve forces. One member of the Thunderbolts, John Gilleland, invented the double-barreled cannon. Though it's intended use was not successful, it may have been used as a regular cannon to defend Athens at Barber Creek the day before the prisoners arrived in town.

According to the Watchman, Athens held the prisoners for only a few days before they were shipped "to Andersonville, where they will be properly cared for." However, by August of 1864, the 26 1/2-acre Andersonville held more than 33,000 Union prisoners of war, far more than the space was built to allow. The site is now a National Cemetery and home to the National Prisoner of War Museum.

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